African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section


Welcome! Karibuni sana! Soo dhowaada! The Africa Department houses the largest concentration of scholars devoted to the study of African languages and other forms of cultural expression in sub-Saharan Africa.

This collective expertise furnishes us with a capacity for teaching and research that is without parallel elsewhere. We have unrivalled expertise in the languages of Africa, covering Swahili, Somali, Amharic, Zulu, Yorùbá and Hausa. Students can study literature in English and in African languages, African film and philosophy

Why choose SOAS for African Languages, Cultures and Literatures?

Meet our academics

Find out who our academics are at the African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

Our research

Research in the Africa section focuses on the languages and cultures of Africa through the lenses of literature, philosophy and linguistics. Members of the section conduct research on new vernacular registers such as Sheng in Kenya, rural multilingualism in West Africa, and the manifold genres expressing philosophical thought in Africa.

Oral and written poetry traditions (for instance in Somali) and African writing, including Ajami writing, are also core areas of investigation.

Research in the section is strongly rooted in expertise in African indigenous languages but also encompasses the continents’ languages of European provenance.

We are home to the Journal of African Cultural Studies.